After 1000 miles, here's my impressions on the M22, having gone from a M20:
The 2.20 first gear doesn't make much difference. This is with my 4.10's.
The gear whine isn't as bad as some make it out to be. I will say starting off that 1st gear is LOUD. Once under way, the gears are making a more subtle whine which sounds OK.
Although my motor is busy on the street, it doesn't bother me. But it's a personal thing. My car is more a local point and shoot. I still have to do tires/wheels which will soften it up a bit.
69 RS Conv,355,Autogear M22,4.10's and I don't worry about stone chips ( yet ).